Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Somali immigrant cab drivers at Cleveland airport say police are ticketing them when they step out of their cabs for traditional Islamic prayer

Associated Press:

Police say they are enforcing a requirement that all drivers remain in their vehicles outside the terminal and are trying to maintain order in an increasingly competitive airport cab scene.

A sign warns taxi drivers not to leave their vehicles within 300 feet of the terminal or their car will be towed. Police are not towing, but they are issuing tickets that carry a $150 fine, plus $69 in court costs.

Members of the Islamic religion are required to have five formal prayers daily, which must be done facing the direction of Mecca in Saudi Arabia, considered the most holy city in Islam.

Muslims are recommended to be freshly cleaned with water, and they also must recite the prayers in various positions, including standing and kneeling on the ground.

The cab drivers say this is why they must leave their cars to wash up in the airport restrooms and to pray in certain areas.

Police spokesman Lt. Thomas Stacho said police ticket only law breakers, regardless of their cultural background. "Our only concern is the safety and security of the airport," he said.

The USA Taxi company says a third of its drivers have quit in recent months over the enforcement. They say the ticketing has hurt efforts to attract Somali cab drivers to Cleveland from the big Somali immigrant community in Columbus.

"Nobody wants to work in an environment of harassment," said Abdifatah Samatar, 25, the manager of the Somali-owned company. "Everyone came here to work. Instead, everyone feels unwanted."

Somali cabbies pick up fines with fares


At 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone came here to work. Instead, everyone feels unwanted."
' If you feel UNWANTED then GO BACK HOME.......This is still the USA.

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